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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:697632. doi: 10.1155/2013/697632. Epub 2013 Sep 23.

Rhodiola rosea Impairs Acquisition and Expression of Conditioned Place Preference Induced by Cocaine.

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Pharmacognosy Unit, School of Pharmacy, University of Camerino, Via Madonna delle Carceri 9, 62032 Camerino, Italy.


A novel approach to the treatment of adverse effects of drugs of abuse is one which makes use of natural products. The present study investigated the effect of Rhodiola rosea L. hydroalcoholic extract (RHO) on cocaine-induced hyperactivity and conditioned place preference (CPP) in mice. In a first experiment, mice received RHO (15, 20 or 25 mg/kg, IG), cocaine (25 mg/kg, i.p.) (COC), or a combination of both drugs (COC + RHO15, COC + RHO20, and COC + RHO25), and their locomotor activity was evaluated. In a second experiment, the effects of RHO on the acquisition, expression, and reinstatement of cocaine CPP (induced by drug priming or social defeat stress) were evaluated. RHO alone did not increase activity but potentiated the hyperactivity induced by cocaine. Rhodiola did not induce motivational effects by itself but attenuated the acquisition and expression of cocaine-induced CPP. Moreover, it was found that RHO did not block reinstatement. The results indicate that RHO is effective in reducing the rewarding properties of cocaine but is ineffective in preventing priming or stress-induced cocaine reinstatement. In light of these findings, the benefits of Rhodiola rosea L. as a treatment of cocaine addiction would seem to be limited.

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